Swilling Coke from a can is for louts and layabouts. Here are three off-the-wall recipes from professional “mixologist” Mitch Firth to inject some fun and sophistication into your favourite beverage. Whether you want to make kids’ parties more interesting or just feel like a fuss-free mocktail, the following concoctions provide a fresh spin on an old flavour. Kind of like “New Coke” only not crap.
Mitch Firth is a professional barman and “drink mixologist” who cut his teeth under some of New South Wales’ most renowned bar tenders. For the past four years, Mitch has been plying his trade at the Exchange Hotel in Balmain where a glass of Coke topped with ice has become his weekly end-of-shift ritual. We crossed paths with Mitch at the Riedel + Coke glass launch where he showed various methods to make Coke fancier.
“Coke is quite sweet, so coming up with a unique spin or mocktail is actually surprisingly challenging,” Mitch explained. “When you talk about mixology it usually tends to involve alcohol, which is kind of my normal click. However, there’s still a lot of scope for coming up with interesting virgin mixes.”
Here are a few of his favourite creations.
Coca Libre (Virgin Cuba Libre)
- 30mls lime juice
- 10mls sugar syrup
- 90mls Coca-Cola
Method: Fill a rocks glass to the top with ice. Add lime juice and sugar syrup to a boston and shake with ice, fill rocks half way with Coca-Cola, double strain sweet & sour mix over the ice layering on top of the Coca-Cola. Garnish with a lime wedge.
“This drink is a based in the classic cocktail the “Cuba Libre”, which is made in exactly the same way, except with white rum (specifically Bacardi) added to the lime and sugar. One account claims that the Cuba Libre (Spanish for “Free Cuba”) was invented in Havana, Cuba around 1901/1902.”
- 120mls Coca-Cola
- 1 scoop of Vanilla ice cream
- 1 sachet of “popping” candy
Method: Rim a coupe glass with popping candy and fill with Coca-Cola, add a scoop of ice cream, then sprinkle popping candy over the drink and serve with a silver spoon.
“This idea basically involved me putting myself into my ten year old brain. What’s better than a Coke spider? A Coke spider with popping candy!”
Coca-Cola foam Sundae
- 120ml Coca-Cola foam
- 2 Coca-Cola soaked cherries
- 1 Coca-Cola shard
Method: To make the cola shards, reduce 100ml of coke on the stove on low heat — very important not to burn — and then let it set in the fridge overnight. The foam itself is made in a soda syphon by adding 300ml straight coke syrup, 90ml lemon juice and three egg whites. Shake well in the syphon before adding gas and then store in the fridge for 30 min before testing. To serve, pour the foam into a tall glass and garnish with shard of Coca-Cola and two soaked cherries.
“A recent bar trend that’s come through in the past couple of years is to put foam on top of martini-style cocktails as a garnish. I took that concept and basically turned it into an entire drink. The cola-infused cherries adds that classic Cherry Cola taste without overpowering the drink.”
So what about alcoholic Coke mixes? According to Mitch, you’re better off sticking to the kid’s stuff:
“To be honest, it’s not really an ingredient that’s widely used in cocktails anymore. How do I word this without offending half of Sydney? Every now and then you’ll get a bunch of people west of Ryde-slash-Homebush who will venture into the city and then you’ll find yourself making Long Island iced teas all night. That kind of clientele hasn’t been exposed to what’s clicking in the industry, so they’ll stick to a classic high-volume alcohol and sugar drink.
“If you really must add alcohol, go with the Cuba Libre. It’s a really nicely balanced drink that doesn’t have too much Coke in it; it’s just a splash of it. When it’s prepared properly, it can be a really nice, refreshing summer drink. Have a few of those and you’ll be laughing.”
Has anyone come up with their own personal spin on straight Coca-Cola? Share your fizzy formulations in the comments section below!